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Guest Post

Getting to Know Oneself as a Contemporary YA Romance Writer by Lizzy Charles

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I have a confession to make: I’m that author who is writing outside of the genre she originally intended to dominate. Some may call me a quitter, but I prefer to think I’m quick to know myself.

Before writing, my reading tastes gravitate toward fantasy and dystopian novels. Just let me escape this world, you know? So when I decided to write my first book, obviously it’d be a bout a troll, a pirate, and a cursed princess (yes the story was as horrible as it sounds). It’s funny how you think you are made for something but then when you really sit down and give it a go, you realize you were so wrong. Pretty sure I only made it through four or five paragraphs before I realized I’d die of boredom from my own world building before I’d ever type “the end.”

So I scratched that approach and revisited an old, favorite novel of mine, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, and found exactly what I was looking for. The conversations she wrote drove the story. I opened my laptop and plopped myself in the middle of a conversation between two kids and it felt like I was a wild horse running along the coast. I was made to write conversation driven contemporary romance!

The more I learned while writing contemporary romance, the more addicted I became to the genre. Rainbow Rowell’s novel Eleanor and Park became my cornerstone for the genre and the ultimate level I hope to aspire to.  That woman knows how to write like no one else I know! Anytime I’m feeling stuck or discourage, I’ll open her book up and breathe in the authenticity of her characters and their relationship. It’s that exact authenticity I knew I had to capture while writing my newest novel, It had to be You.

It had to be You was my most challenging book to write. It’s a category romance novel, so it was the first time in my career I put myself in a box (category romance are trope driven and word count restricted). But those restrictions plus my love for authenticity breathed a life into my characters that you won’t find in a typical romance novel.

I’m so excited to introduce James and Edelweiss into the world. Pretty sure if they hoped in a time machine, they’d be awesome friends with Eleanor and Park.


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Lizzy Charles writes young adult contemporary romance and would rather read than eat, but if she’s not reading then you can bet she’s eating. She’s a tea fanatic, guacamole expert, and sushi lover (though not necessarily combined).

When she’s fixing lunches, dressing kids, changing diapers, or wiping pizza sauce off sticky hands, she escapes to La La Land and imagines all sorts of little love stories that she likes to tuck into novels once she’s put all three kids to bed. Lizzy loves her daily dose of fitness and is also a Registered Nurse so she can triage any symptom you send her way.

Her best friend is her husband, and it’s no wonder she loves writing YA romance since the two fell in love in high school. She’s also enjoys blogging at She is Bright where she talks about life, faith, food, health, parenting, and more. Oh and she has a little pup named Professor Lupin who is pretty much the glue to the whole writing operation.

Sisters in Love Melissa Foster

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